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Radio AM to FM: September 3, 2004

Short History

Stay near a radio this weekend: KRTH is airing a version of The History of Rock and Roll, a 36-hour special hosted by Bill Drake that chronicles the history of pop music from the early roots of rock through the British Invasion of the 1960s and ending with the superstars of the early 1970s.

The program has unfortunately been edited, as it culminates with a time sweep of number one hits from 1955 to 1970; there was no edition of History that ended in 1970. The original, hosted by Robert W. Morgan, aired on KHJ in 1969. The next edition featured Drake as host, ran in 1978 and covered through 1977. The last edition from 1981 covered through February 1981. Further, both the 1978 and 1981 versions ran 52 hours, 16 hours more than KRTH is airing this weekend.

My understanding is that KRTH cut out songs that it doesn't play (though that would bring it down to about four hours, wouldn't it?). Pretty lame if you asked me.

That being said, the program is an amazing journey through the pop world; even edited it is well worth the time to listen. KRTH will be presenting it today from noon to 8:00, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10 AM to 6 PM.

McCormick Passes

Longtime KTLA-TV Channel 5 newsman Larry McCormick passed away on August 27. He was 71.

His connection to radio came through a job at KPRS/Kansas City in 1957. Just one year later he moved to Los Angeles to take on mornings at KGFJ, where he stayed until 1963.

1963 brought him to television, at least for a short time. "I left KGFJ to join KIIX-TV Channel 22 for an experiment in (all black) television, which failed in four months," he told Los Angeles radio historian Don Barrett ( in an interview a few years ago.

He returned to radio via KDAY, leaving a short time later to become the first black personality on popular top-40 station KFWB in 1964. When KFWB went all news, it was back to KGFJ as programmer. And then ... television called.

First it was weekend news, then midday news and Dialing for Dollars on KCOP-TV Channel 13, followed by weekend weather on KABC-TV Channel 7. In 1971 he moved over to Channel 5 where he stayed for good.

You can hear a recording of McCormick doing overnights on KFWB at He is survived by his wife Anita, children Alvin, Mitch and Kitty, and grandchildren Daniel and Benjamin.

Mail Bag

"What happened to the Doug Stephan Show that was on KRLA from 2 AM to 5 AM?" -- Jim West, Los Angeles

I found him on the Cable Radio Network (, but as of now I don't see a Los Angeles-area affiliate. CRN does put their programming on the web, however, so if you can get to a computer, you can hear the show.


Copyright © 2004 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.

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